How much do Springer-Verlag authors make per book sold?
This varies substantially, depending on the sort of book, how well the author negotiated (each book involves an individually negotiated contract), the price of the book, etc. Based on one Springer contract I'm familiar with, here's a first approximation. I can't say for sure how representative it is, but it's at least one data point, and I'd guess it's typical for Springer and competing publishers.
For regular sales, the author may get 9-12% of "net cash receipts", defined as what the publisher made on the sale (excluding taxes), with the percentage depending on things like how well the book has sold. Note that "regular sales" excludes some special cases, for which there may be lower royalty rates.
Then the question is how much Springer charged the bookseller for the book. You can download a 6 megabyte zip file of Springer wholesale prices. I glanced at a few math books, and the prices look like they are about 60% of what bookstores are charging. That's certainly the right ballpark, but I haven't computed any real statistics.
So a first approximation is that the author's royalty is probably 5-7% of the price you pay in a bookstore. Considering that academic books are expensive, that's not bad, but nobody's going to grow rich off it. For advanced books, selling 1000 copies in total is very good and selling 10,000 is amazing.
My answer is close to $0.00. I published a book with Springer in 2007, and it is a standard work found in most university libraries. I have never received a royalty cheque, as there was a threhshold number for sales. However, now sales are close to zero, as the book is available electronically via SpringerLink and other platforms, and Springer essentially does not pay royalties on downloads via SpringerLink, as they have no way of calculating the proportion owing - so they avoid the issue, and authors are totally shafted.
Here's what Springer says:
§ 6 Royalty
For each sold and paid copy of the Work or part thereof, print or electronic, sold as an individual book or individual part thereof, Springer shall pay to Author a royalty of 6% based on the net income received by Springer (list-price minus discount and VAT, withholding tax and any other applicable taxes). For the avoidance of doubt, this includes (but is not limited to) such individual sales to digital and non-digital libraries.
If there is a legal requirement for Springer to withhold any taxes on a royalty payment, the taxes will be deducted from the royalty payment to Author. If the Work is sold electronically as part of a Springer e-book package, Author will receive an equitable share of royalties from the income generated by Springer from the e-book package. The share formula for each individual title within the e-book package will be determined by Springer no later than April for the preceding calendar year. This amount will be paid in addition to the royalty described above and shown separately on the annual royalty statement.
In the case of Bulk Sales, Author's exclusive royalty for the respective Bulk Sale will be 0 % of the related Net Proceeds, with “Bulk Sale” being defined as the production and/or distribution of a special number of copies of the Work or parts thereof at a special price regardless of whether it be performed by Springer or by third parties, regardless of whether in print or electronic format and further regardless of whether in a layout identical to the normal normal edition or not. For the purpose of this Clause 6 Royalty, the term "Net Proceeds" shall be defined as the net amount Springer actually receives after deduction of all discounts, minus production costs incurred by Sprnger or any Springer Group Company and minus VAT, withholding tax and any other applicable taxes.
If Springer grants licenses to use the Work or derivative works thereof or parts of either in non-Springer products and the related use is not covered by the above subsections of this clause 6 “Royalty” (e.g., a license to translate the work and to distribute the translation, or a license to distribute parts of the Work in a third party book), Author’s exclusive royalty for the respective license and any related use will be a share of the Springer’s Net Proceeds according to industry standards (currently 50%).
The aforesaid royalties shall be the sole compensation to be paid to Author with respect to the Work and the rights granted. In case the Work contains or links (e.g. through frames or in-line links) to media, social or functional enhancements, the royalties, complimentary copies and/or access rights granted under this contract, are deemed to be adequate consideration. For the avoidance of doubt, the aforesaid royalties will be paid as a total to the joint group of authors if “Author” comprises several individual authors. Each co-author will receive an equal share of any payment.
Accounts will be settled annually in April for the preceding calendar year, with payment to follow soon thereafter.
Authors are responsible for the taxation of their royalties. Springer is entitled to report related information (including personal and financial data) to the respective authorities.
Free copies which are provided by Springer for the purposes of review, promotion, sample or otherwise free of charge are not subject to royalty payments. Likewise, copies that are damaged and cannot be sold are not subject to royalty payments.
Any publisher's proceeds from rights managed by national copyright organizations (collecting societies including but not limited to societies such as Copyright Clearance Center) are the sole property of Springer. Any such author’s proceeds are the sole property of Author, and if applicable, registration and taxation of such proceeds is the Author’s sole responsibility. This subsection shall have precedence over any other subsection of this Clause 6 Royalty.
Beware of publishing with Apress (Springer-Nature) on two issues:
- Payments for SpringerLink downloads are not issued
- Data for sales is not shared
I published 5 books through Apress. These books were earlier published on Amazon's KDP program a year before (2016 to 2017) they were republished by Apress (December 2017 onwards).
At Amazon's KDP program they were provided in self-published mode. There I use to get 70% for e-book and 50% for physical book. I could set my own price for different regions. Sales data is shown live too. I was making decent sales of ~10-50 USD per day.
Then Apress approached me to publish the books again (they used the term "adopting") and paid me 3000 USD for all 5 of them (1000 USD for book on Julia programming and 500 USD each for other four). This amount was suggested to be "bonus for signing in" and was in addition to 10% of sales as royalty payments for first 4000 copies, 12.5% for next 4000 copies, 15% for next 4000 copies and 20% henceforth.
But there was a catch. Within the contract, the bonus payments (3000USD) were added for Subscription services like SpringerLink too. Being first-time author dealing with publishers, I was too naive to understand the consequences.
The payments are made on quarterly basis. Payments of one quarter are made at the end of next quarter. My books got published in December 2017. For fourth quarter of 2017, I got payments of ~180 USD which was decent sale of books considering just a month worth of sales. But second payment of Quarter-1 of 2018 which was released in July 2018 was just ~250 USD. This was surprising since the books were decently ranked in Amazon sales data all through the time and Julia book was quite popular. When I asked for sales data based on which royalty statements were issues, the e-mails are simply not relied to. Also at this point of time I realised the issued with subscription based downloads at SpringerLInk where the books got downloaded well over 25000 times within those 3 months of 2018, but I wasn't paid a single dime.
Hence my advice to new authors:
- Of course you should not be naive as myself while reading the contract. Even better if you ask a legal expert to do the same.
- Ask for payments for subscription based services too. The downloads run in thousands there whereas sales might be less than hundred (if you believe royalty statements!)
- To avoid the hassles, go for one-time payments either for life or 5 year basis (royalty paid every 5 years). A decent book priced 20 USD should easily fetch yourself at-least 20,000 USD by the time its obsolete. Of course the estimates varies on type of books and subjects.
If you live in Germany, don't forget to register with VG Wort when your book is published. They only pay out once a year, as does Springer. But I got more money from VG Wort than I did from Springer for my book published in 2014. As an answer above noted: you aren't going to get rich.
Also, do read the proofs very carefully. They seem to employ people who don't understand the manuscripts to do what little editing they do.
I am a Springer author of a book in the Boston Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science series, and I made 6% off the gross sales.
How much do Springer-Verlag authors make per book sold?
I am getting roughly EUR 2 to 4 for each copy of my Springer book - eBook, softcover, and hardcover, respectively. That's 10% of net sales, and then 25% of that, since my co-author wrote 75% of the book. The annual royalty statements from Springer have been a nice surprise since they also include royalties for eBook packages that universities and other institutions purchase. Plus the book added almost EUR 500 to my VG Wort payout; too bad that's only in the year of publication! So, I am pretty happy with Springer, with the premise that I did not expect (and need) to make any money from this project - indeed the hourly pay is probably something like EUR 2. What may also be of interest to some is that the book is being cited at a rate of 25 to 50 times a year, which is significantly higher than any of my articles. It's a research monograph in a technical field.
Royalties amount to a couple of candybars a year.
It is hilarious to see the looks on students' faces when you recommend your own book for the course. "Cor Blimey, he's getting rich off our backs."
No sunshine, I recommend it because this is the course I intend to teach and you can always download a PDF from the previous years archive, since obviously my book started its life as a set of lecture notes.
With Springer, the royalties accounting report does consider only book sales for individuals while excluding institutional and group sales which constitute the majority of revenues. For highly specialized expensive books whose price exceeds the capability of individuals, sales are considerably low while institutional and group sales are high.
Even when the detailed chapter by chapter downloads for books on Springer site are high, they are excluded from the royalties accounting report. The authorship rights are thus subdivided into full rights against the minority of individual readers, and zero rights against the majority of institutional and group readers. Highly unfair to totally exclude the author from institutional and group online downloads and hardcopies.
Totally upsetting and frustrating experience for the authors, specially when emails are not answered!!
I published a book with Springer in 2018. The first years I received less than 100 Euro per year - after that I received less than 10 Euros per year. If you are based in the German-speaking countries, I urge you to have a look at VG Wort. It will dramatically increase your income once a "Wahrnehmungsvertrag" is signed.